Many parents are fearful when their children reach the legal driving age. While many teens may think that their parents are being dramatic, accident statistics seem to indicate that a parent’s fear may be justifiable. According to the CDC, car accidents are the leading cause the teen deaths in the United States.
Teen Car Accident Statistics
Just how many teens are involved in car accidents each year? In 2015, emergency rooms across the country treated more than 235,800 teens for car accident-related injuries. That same year, 2,333 teens were killed in motor vehicle accidents.
Are teens really injured and killed in car accidents more than adults? Yes. Research shows that in 2013, American teens between the ages of 15 and 19 comprised 7 percent of the population. That same age group, however, accounted for 11 percent of the cost of all motor vehicle injuries. So, teens are not only involved in more accidents, but also sustain more serious injuries, as well.
Why Are Teens Involved in So Many Car Accidents?
Every day, an average of six teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 will be killed in a car accident in the United States. What is causing so many teen car accidents? Research shows that some causing of teen accidents are reported more frequently than others.
Texting and Driving
There is no denying that teens tend to be inseparable from their cell phones and mobile devices. Unfortunately, this behavior extends to when teens get behind the wheel of a car. Teens regularly text, film short videos, take selfies, and use social media while driving.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study on teen driving and found that distracted driving behaviors were a factor in 58 percent of accidents. Distractions were most likely to result in road departure crashes (89 percent) and rear-end crashes (76 percent). Previous studies had indicated that distracted driving was only thought to be an issue in 14 percent of teen crashes.
Engaging With Passengers
In California, teenage drivers have restricted driving privileges for the first year they have a driver’s license. New teen drivers are prohibited from:
- Driving between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM
- Using cell phones and electronic devices while driving, and
- Having passengers under the age of 20, unless accompanied by a licensed adult over the age of 25.
Passenger restrictions are important and help to ensure that new drivers can learn how to safely navigate a car. When other teens are in the car, young drivers are more likely to drive aggressively and/or become distracted. Research shows that the risk of a teen driver being involved in an accident increases substantially when there are other young passengers in the car. The chances of an accident happening increases by 44 percent when there is one passenger in the car. The risk of an accident is even greater when there are multiple passengers:
- Accidents are twice as likely to occur when there are two passengers in a teen’s car;
- Accidents are four times as likely to occur when there are three or more passengers in a teen’s car.
Unfortunately, too many teens are involved in drunk driving accidents. Teens may have easier access to alcohol once they get their driver’s license, which can increase the chances of them getting behind the wheel while drunk.
The CDC reports that in 2016, 15 percent of all drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were involved in fatal accidents had a blood alcohol concentration above the adult legal limit of .08. In California, teen drivers can be arrested for DUI if any amount of alcohol is found in their system.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Wearing a seatbelt in the front seat of a car can reduce the chances of suffering a fatal injury by 45 percent. However, teens are less likely than adults to wear a seat belt in a motor vehicle. A 2015 survey of high school students found that 40 percent of teens do not regularly wear a seat belt.
Get Help After a Los Angeles Car Accident
Has your teenager recently been involved in a Los Angeles car accident? In California, victims can recover money even if they were partially responsible for an accident or injury. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Citywide Law Group to find out if you may be entitled to compensation. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to call us today.